New high rises in Penn Station area are on hold

A project that could reshape the Midtown Manhattan skyline is apparently in jeopardy.

The developer of the massive Penn District project is pulling back for now on building new skyscrapers at the site.

In a call with analysts, Steven Roth, the CEO of Vornado Realty, said high-interest rates are hurting new construction. He also noted that the number of office workers still working from home is basically eliminating the need for new office space.

But Empire State Development apparently wants to stick with the plan.

Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman voted against the project multiple times in the state legislature.

"We don't need commercial office space. We need affordable and supported housing," Hoylman says.

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In December, FOX 5 News got an exclusive look at the construction currently underway at Penn 1 and Penn 2. The buildings are being transformed into office space, cafes, a town hall, a rooftop terrace, and a pedestrian plaza.

The developer says the work on those buildings will be completed in about a year. They were also planning to break ground on 5 new skyscrapers in the near future, but that is now on hold.

Senator Hoylman is now calling on Governor Hochul to amend the developer's plans.

"This is a great opportunity to rethink this plan even further and build the housing that New Yorkers need," Hoylman says.

The Co-Head of Real Estate at Vornado, Glen Weiss, tells FOX 5 News that they want to build the new skyscrapers, but aren’t sure when that will happen.

"We need a tenant to kick off any of these new builds. We need construction financing to get off any new builds," Weiss says. "It's impossible to project how many years at this point in time."